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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
NICKEL ALLERGY & TOXICITY




DESCRIPTION

Nickel is a silver-white metal used to produce steel, nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel plating, heating fuel, and ceramics. It has been described as a trace mineral and is present in many cells within the human body. Small amounts of nickel are useful in certain bodily functions. For example, minute amounts of nickel are important in DNA and RNA stabilization. Nickel may play a role in the metabolism of glucose and hormonal functions. It also helps to activate certain important enzymes, such as trypsin and arginase. A nickel deficiency may affect iron and zinc metabolism.

NICKEL ALLERGY

Nickel allergy is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis - an itchy rash that appears when your skin touches a normally harmless substance. Nickel allergy is commonly associated with earrings and jewelry for other body piercings. But nickel can be found in many everyday items - from coins to necklace clasps, from watchbands to eyeglass frames. Nickel allergy can affect people of all ages. You may develop nickel allergy after a single exposure to nickel or after repeated or prolonged exposure. Treatments can reduce the symptoms of nickel allergy. Once you develop nickel allergy, however, you will always be sensitive to the metal and should avoid contact.

NICKEL TOXICITY & POISONING

Nickel is another of the highly toxic trace elements. The danger of nickel poisoning is particularly high for persons working in the metal industry. Nickel is a frequent component of many types of high-quality steel and other industrial nickel alloys, but also of everyday objects like belt buckles, buttons, costume jewelry, coins, rechargeable (Nicad) batteries, glass and ceramics. Coca and tea contain relatively high level of nickel. Inhaled by smokers as a component of tobacco, it contributes to the dangers of lung cancer. In the human organism, nickel deposits are found in the ribs, cerebellum, kidneys, liver and thyroid gland.

A relatively high level of nickel occurs in embryos during the third and fourth month of pregnancy. Nickel, nickel alloys and nickel compounds have been shown to cause skin irritation, which with continued contact, can turn into the so-called nickel allergy of the skin and can develop into dermatitis. The chronic toxicity of metallic, as well as of ionic nickel, is enormous and it must be considered carcinogenic for humans.





FREQUENT SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

NICKEL ALLERGY

If you have nickel allergy, an allergic reaction usually begins within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to a nickel-containing item and may persist for two to four weeks. The features of contact dermatitis usually appear only where your skin came into contact with nickel, but they may appear elsewhere on your body. Signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis caused by a nickel allergy include:
  • Rash or bumps on the skin.
  • Itching, which may be severe.
  • Redness or changes in skin color.
  • Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn.
  • Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases.

Sweating at the point of contact with nickel may worsen the symptoms.

NICKEL TOXICITY

Although some nickel is important to bodily functions, too much nickel can be toxic, however. Nickel carbonyl is the most toxic form of this metal. Lethal exposure to nickel through inhalation causes:
  • Nausea.

  • Dizziness.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Headache.

  • Vomiting.

  • Chest pain.

  • Weakness.

  • Coughing.

Contact with the vapor can lead to:
  • Brain and liver swelling.

  • Degeneration of the liver.

  • Irritation to the eyes, throat and nose.

  • Cancer.

Although toxic levels of nickel have not been established, it is known that the presence of excess amounts of nickel can cause dermatitis (skin rash and inflammation), also called "nickel itch," and respiratory illness, and can interfere with the Kreb's cycle, a series of enzymatic reactions necessary for cellular energy production. Significant levels of nickel may also contribute to thyroid malfunction, or myocardial infarction (heart attack).





CAUSES

NICKEL ALLERGY CAUSES

An allergic reaction is somewhat like a case of mistaken identity within your body's immune system. Normally, your immune system reacts to protect your body against bacteria, viruses or toxic substances. If you have nickel allergy, your body reacts to nickel. In other words, it's mistakenly identified nickel as something that could harm you. Once your body has developed a reaction to a particular agent (allergen) - in this case, nickel - your immune system will always be sensitive to it. When you come into contact with nickel, your immune system responds and produces an inflammatory response.

Your immune system's sensitivity to nickel may develop after your first exposure or after repeated or prolonged exposure. The cause of nickel allergy is unknown, but sensitivity to nickel may, in part, be inherited (genetic).

NICKEL ALLERGY SOURCE EXPOSURE

Nickel allergy is most commonly associated with earrings and other jewelry for body piercings that contain some nickel. Common sources of nickel exposure include:
  • Jewelry for body piercings.
  • Other jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces and jewelry clasps.
  • Watchbands.
  • Clothing fasteners, such as zippers, snaps and bra hooks.
  • Belt buckles.
  • Suspender clips.
  • Hairpins.
  • Eyeglass frames.
  • Coins.
  • Kitchen utensils.
  • Paper clips.
  • Pens.
  • Keys.
  • Tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICITY CAUSES

Environmental exposure to nickel can occur by contact with automobile exhaust, manufacturing emissions, and airborne dust. Skin absorption can come from coins, hairpins, jewelry, prosthetic joints and heart valves, and nickel plating.

Nickel can be present in superphosphate fertilizers and cigarette smoke. More than 75 to 80 percent of the crowns placed today in dental offices are nickel, even "porcelain" crowns, and that nickel is present in braces and most partial dentures. Stainless steel is usually a nickel alloy. Nickel compounds have been unequivocally implicated as human respiratory carcinogens in epidemiological studies of nickel refinery workers, and there appears a relationship between nickel crowns and breast cancer in women.

Dental Toxicity & Cancer

Using cooking utensils containing nickel may add unnecessarily to your dietary intake.

MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Environmental Toxicity

Toxicity Profiles: Toxicity Summary for Nickel & Nickel Compounds

FOODS CONTAINING NICKEL

Many foods naturally contain some amount of nickel. These include bananas, barley, beans, buckwheat, cabbage, hazelnuts, legumes, lentils, oats, pears, soybeans, and walnuts.

Nickel can also be present in hydrogenated fats and oils, refined and processed foods, baking powder, and cocoa powder.


NICKEL - TOXIC METALS

The element "Nickel" (Ni) was discovered unintentionally in 1751 by Baron Axel Frederick Cronstedt, who extracted it from a mineral called niccolite. Intending to extract copper, the Baron's efforts produced a white substance rather than the reddish substance he expected. He dubbed the new metal "kupfernickel", a German word that roughly translates to "Devil's copper."

Nickel is a silvery-white metal found naturally in the earth's crust. The world's 24th most abundant element, nickel is a transition metal, meaning it occupies the middle of the periodic table of elements. This indicates it has chemical properties that enable it to form multiple chemical compounds, some of which are toxic. Pure nickel is hard yet ductile pliable and for this reason it is used as a strengthening component in metal alloys. It is also an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity.

Nickel is found everywhere in the environment but usually only in trace amounts. For example, nickel concentrations in drinking water throughout the United States are on average 2 parts per billion (ppb) - that is, there are 2 parts nickel for every billion parts of water (2 micrograms per liter). The average worldwide concentration in soil is 8 parts per million (ppm). In Ontario, the background concentration of nickel can be as high as 43 ppm, with the occasional area that naturally contains higher concentrations. The amount of nickel contamination in Port Colborne ranges up to 17,000 ppm.

The metal is also ubiquitous in soil and can be found at higher concentrations in a number of mineral ores including nickel sulfides, oxides and silicates. Most of the nickel in soil is so tightly bound to other minerals that it resists direct uptake by plants and animals and cannot easily affect human health or ecosystems.

The nickel found in the earth's crust has numerous natural sources. Nickel can be found in both hydrothermal veins - channels where water heated in the deep layers of the earth passes through - and in surface deposits formed by the erosion and weathering of rocks. Volcanic eruptions release large amounts of nickel in lava flows suggesting that the inner regions of the earth contain higher concentrations of the metal than the crust. Meteorites have been found to contain concentrated deposits of nickel bound to iron, and high concentrations of nickel can be found in sea nodules, which are dense mineral deposits on the ocean floor.

Traces of nickel are also present in the air - the legacy of industrial operations such as metal refining, oil and coal power plants, and trash incinerators. A 1982 survey of 111 U.S. cities found that atmospheric nickel concentrations range from 1 to 86 nanograms (billionths of a gram) per cubic meter (10 cubic feet). To put this in perspective, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that people should avoid breathing air containing more than 50 micrograms (millionths of a gram) of nickel per cubic meter, a value more than five hundred times greater than the highest atmospheric concentration measured in a U.S. city.

The process of refining and combusting ores containing nickel creates volatile forms of nickel such as nickel carbonyl and nickel dust. These compounds can be toxic when they are inhaled directly at high concentrations over a long period of time, and workers in these industries must be protected against exposure to these compounds to safeguard their health.

NICKEL USES

Nickel has been a favored component of coins because it is bright and takes a fine polish and because it is lighter than copper, silver and other metals commonly used in coin currency. In 1850, Switzerland became the first modern nation to officially employ nickel in its coinage. The U.S. soon followed suit in the 1850s and '60s when it introduced nickel to its penny and five-cent pieces to make them lighter. Though the U.S. five-cent coin only contained 25 percent nickel, it quickly became known as "the nickel." The first pure nickel coin was issued by Switzerland in 1881; Austria and Hungary followed suit in 1893.

Because nickel does not easily oxidize, or rust, the metal was adapted as an electroplating material in the 1850s. Electroplating is a process in which metal ions in a chemical solution are attracted to a solid metal electrode. As the ions bind to the surface of the metal they form a uniform, thin coating. Electroplating a metal surface with nickel can form a layer that protects against corrosion. As the electrochemistry of nickel became better understood, it was adapted for use in batteries. Today nickel and cadmium compounds are used to produce rechargeable nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries.

By far the largest use of nickel today is in the steel industry, which uses approximately two-thirds of the world's annually produced nickel. The metal has the unusual properties of being hard - strong, able to withstand breaking under high forces - and ductile - able to yield or bend before breaking or cracking. In addition, nickel is chemically similar to iron but with particularly good resistance to oxidation. Because of its similarity to iron, nickel can readily substitute for iron in steel alloys or mixtures. The addition of nickel to steel increases its strength, ductility, its rust resistance and its value.

So-called stainless steels, which contain chromium and between 5 and 25 percent nickel, are used in countless applications. The corrosion resistant properties of this steel make it ideal for use in cutlery, faucets, sinks, outdoor equipment, motorized vehicles and cookwear. High strength structural steels that incorporate nickel are used throughout the automobile, aerospace and construction industries. Virtually any heavy industry that manufactures mechanical devices uses structural or stainless steel at some point in the manufacturing process.

Other non-ferrous alloys include nickel-copper alloys, typically containing about 65 percent nickel, and copper-nickel alloys, which generally contain about 10 percent nickel. Their uses include marine equipment and inorganic acid and alkali handling equipment. Nickel-chromium alloys, containing 40 to 70 percent nickel, are used in corrosive chemical environments and high-temperature applications such as heating elements and jet engine parts and in stainless steel flatware and cooking utensils. Nickel-copper-zinc alloys commonly known as nickel-silver are used for decorative purposes, including jewelry, due to the fine polish they can achieve.

NICKEL & HEALTH

Nickel has been shown to be an essential trace element in several animal species and is likely to be essential in humans. However, there is no known condition in people that has been associated with nickel deficiency, and it is likely that we get all the nickel we need from its ubiquitous presence in food and water.

Although pure nickel can readily react with other elements to form a variety of chemical compounds, most forms of nickel do not pose a threat to human health. Human beings unknowingly ingest a daily average of 170 micrograms of nickel, a tiny amount less than the mass of a single grain of sand. Trace amounts of nickel are present in the air we breathe, and in household products from faucets to shampoo. These amounts have no known effect on human or ecosystem health.

Human bodies have evolved mechanisms for metabolizing - isolating and eliminating - small amounts of nickel. Water-soluble forms of nickel inhaled as dust particles in the air dissolve into the bloodstream, and nickel also passes into the bloodstream through the skin after contact with nickel-containing products. Most of the nickel in the bloodstream is removed by the kidneys and passed out of the body through urine. Ingested nickel passes through the gastrointestinal tract but does not get absorbed.

Larger doses of nickel, such as accidental ingestion, have been shown to have more adverse health effects ranging from stomach aches to heart failure. However these effects occurred after exposure to levels 50,000 to 100,000 times greater than levels normally encountered in food or drinking water and are decidedly rare cases. The quantities encountered in these studies even exceed those found in solid nickel waste at hazardous waste sites.

Other studies have shown that workers who inhale nickel dusts in metal processing and refining industries, and workers who inhale nickel-containing fumes from welding stainless steel, can have more serious health implications. Research during the 1960s showed early indications that nickel compounds such as nickel carbonyl could cause lung tumors in laboratory rats. Later studies conducted during the 1980s by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrated that prolonged exposure to nickel refinery dust, nickel carbonyl or nickel subsulfide, all direct byproducts of nickel refining and metals processing, could cause cancer. This led to federal regulations limiting exposure to certain nickel compounds in the workplace and the environment. If inhaled in certain forms and over a long enough period of time, nickel is indeed carcinogenic to human beings. Modern industrial hygiene practices have helped to curb these unfortunate nickel-induced health complications, by decreasing airborne levels of nickel dust in the workplace and by providing protective equipment that reduces exposure.

Fortunately for most people, such chronic exposure to nickel is rare. The most common nickel-related health problem that people experience is an allergic reaction that results from handling nickel-containing products on a frequent basis. The proportion of the population that is genetically susceptible to allergic skin reactions to nickel (5-10 percent) is similar for other metals.

NICKEL TOXICITY IN HUMANS

About 10 percent of women and 2 percent of men in the population are highly sensitive to nickel. A portion of these sensitive people can develop a skin rash called nickel dermatitis if they are exposed to nickel through direct contact. This is the most common type of reaction to nickel exposure.

With nickel toxicity the type of nickel (speciation) is very important. Its form (metallic, oxide, etc) and the ease with which it dissolves in water affects the toxicity and the consequences for human health. The most serious health effects occur when nickel is inhaled:
  • Increased risk of respiratory cancer due to chronic inhalation of fumes or fine particles when exposure is to known carcinogenic forms like nickel oxide.
  • Asthma, nasal and sinus problems.

In animal studies, which are much more extensive, nickel exposure caused:
  • Decreased body weight.
  • Increase in still births.
  • Decrease in birth weight of offspring.
  • Death, when nickel exposure is very high.

NICKEL TOXICITY IN PLANTS

Nickel is necessary for healthy plant growth. It is an important component of an essential enzyme.

At a level of 100 ppm or higher, nickel is considered to be phytotoxic, harmful or toxic to plants. With the level of contamination found in Port Colborne, there are areas where all plant cover has been destroyed and there are only bald dirt patches.

NICKEL ALLERGIES & SENSITIVITIES

The most common malady experienced by people who come into contact with nickel is a skin rash called contact dermatitis. This condition can be caused by direct handling of nickel-containing objects common in most households. Coins, plumbing fixtures, certain shampoos and detergents, pigments and jewelry can contain small amounts of nickel that can be absorbed through the skin.

Over time, direct skin contact with these objects may cause a person to become sensitized to the metal and to experience an allergic reaction to nickel. For example, wearing earrings made from metal containing nickel could sensitize an individual to the element. Scientists believe that nickel in the jewelry dissolves in sweat absorbed into the skin. The metal may then bind with one of the body's natural proteins. This nickel-protein complex may not be recognized by the immune system, and this may trigger signals to the body's defense mechanisms to respond to the complex as if it were an intruding antigen.

A skin rash at the site of contact is the most common result of such a reaction. In more acute cases, asthma attacks have been reported. Once a person has become sensitized to the substance even nickel ingested through food may trigger allergic symptoms. For this reason allergists recommend that severe nickel allergy sufferers lower their dietary intake of nickel by avoiding certain foods, shown in the box below.

nickel containing foods
Herring
Asparagus
Mushrooms
Corn
Tomatoes
Oysters
Onions
Peas
Raisins
Baking Powder
Foods cooked with
nickel utensils
Sprouts
Peanuts
Rhubarb
Cocoa
Cabbage
Beans
Spinach
Pears
Tea
Whole Wheat Flour
All canned foods


ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICITY

Like most environmental agents, the toxic effect of any metal is related to the way it gets into an organism or, in the language of toxicology, its route of exposure. Nickel has three main routes of exposure. It can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. When nickel is inhaled, gaseous nickel compounds like nickel subsulfide or small particles of nickel dust (specifically, PM-2.5 particles - those less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) lodge themselves deep in the lungs. In the case of inhalation exposure, scientists have found the form of nickel and its solubility is a key determining factor in the resulting toxicity mechanisms. Water-soluble nickel compounds can be absorbed by the lungs into the bloodstream and eventually removed by the kidneys. Poorly soluble nickel compounds, however, can build up in the lungs, over time and cause complications such as pulmonary fibrosis, a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs as well as bronchitis and lung cancer. The mechanism that enables nickel to cause or contribute to cancer is still very poorly understood.

WORKPLACE EXPOSURE

Certain forms of nickel are carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, but these forms are not likely to be encountered outside of industrial settings, such as factories where metals are processed, particularly where nickel ore is refined and where stainless steel is produced. Other workers who may be exposed to these forms of nickel are welders, electroplaters, battery makers, jewelers, spray painters, paint makers and varnish makers.

Workers in metal industries who were exposed daily to nickel dust in the form of nickel carbonyl or nickel subsulfide have been found to have a higher incidence of nasal, sinus and lung cancers. Inhalation exposure to nickel dust can also result in chronic bronchitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and pulmonary fibrosis. Levels of nickel dust and nickel compounds in the air at industrial facilities processing nickel ores and alloys prior to the 1980s were 100,000 to 1 million times greater than typical background levels found in the air throughout the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has since determined that nickel refinery dust, nickel subsulfide and nickel carbonyl are human carcinogens in these occupational settings.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) drafts and enforces federal regulations related to nickel and other toxic substances to protect workers from harmful exposures such as these. OSHA has determined that nickel levels in air at the workplace may not exceed 1 microgram per cubic meter. These policies have helped to lower nickel dust exposure among workers in metal industries.

Original Articles: Toxicology and Toxic Metal Research.


Pesticide Info: Nickel Toxicity, Ecological Toxicity & Regulatory Information





NICKEL ALLERGY RISK FACTORS

Because nickel is common in jewelry, nickel allergy is most often associated with earrings and other body-piercing jewelry that contain nickel. If the first jewelry you wear after a piercing contains nickel, your body is constantly exposed to the metal during the healing time. And most people who have piercings wear jewelry every day.

People who have regular exposure to nickel on the tops of their hands, feet or abdomen while doing "wet work" - as a result of either sweat or frequent contact with water - may be more likely to develop nickel allergy. This may include, for example, bartenders or people who work in certain food industries.

If other people in your family are sensitive to nickel, then you may have a greater risk of developing nickel allergy.


PREVENTION & TIPS

Avoidance of substances containing nickel can help prevent allergic reactions and toxicity concerns.

NICKEL ALLERGY PREVENTION

The best strategy to prevent developing nickel allergy is to avoid prolonged exposure to items containing nickel, especially jewelry. If you have nickel allergy, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid contact with the metal. The following tips can help you avoid nickel exposure:

WEAR HYPO-ALLERGENIC JEWELRY

Purchase jewelry made of materials that are not likely to cause allergic reactions (hypo-allergenic). Look for jewelry made from such metals as nickel-free stainless steel, surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, 18-karat yellow gold, nickel-free 14-karat yellow gold or niobium. Avoid jewelry with nickel, as well as cobalt and white gold, which may also trigger allergic reactions. (Surgical-grade stainless steel may contain some nickel, but it's generally considered hypo-allergenic for most people.) Get rid of jewelry that contains nickel or has caused an allergic reaction. Be sure that your earring backings also are made of hypo-allergenic materials.

CHOOSE A PIERCING STUDIO CAREFULLY

Many states or cities require piercers to be licensed by a government health department. Contact your state or local health department to find out what rules apply to your area and be certain to choose a reputable studio with licensed piercers.

Visit a studio before getting a piercing to make sure that the piercer:
  • Provides a clean, tidy, professional environment.
  • Uses sterile, nickel-free or surgical-grade stainless steel needles in sealed packages.
  • Sells only hypo-allergenic jewelry and can provide documentation of metal content.
  • Does not use a piercing gun, which may not be sterile or nickel-free and may cause other complications.

USE SUBSTITUTE MATERIALS

Look for safer substitutes for common nickel-containing items:
  • Watchbands made of leather, cloth or plastic.
  • Zippers or clothing fasteners made of plastic or coated metals.
  • Plastic or titanium eyeglass frames.




TREATMENT


DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

PREPARING FOR A HEALTH VISIT

You are likely to see your family health care provider first if you are experiencing symptoms (such as an itchy rash) that may be related to nickel allergy or symptoms of possible nickel toxicity. Make preparations to make sure you are prepared for your health care visit by writing down a description of your symptoms and a list of any medications, vitamins and dietary supplements you are using. It is helpful to have a list of questions you want to ask your health care provider. These questions may include:
  • What is the most likely cause of my symptoms (such as a rash)?
  • What else might cause it?
  • How can it best be treated?
  • Do I need to see a specialist (such as a dermatologist for skin irritations)?
  • Do I need prescription medication, or can I use over-the-counter medications to treat the condition?
  • What home remedies do you recommend, and what home remedies should I avoid?

In addition to the questions that you have prepared to ask your health care provider, do not hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you do not understand something. Your health care provider is likely to ask you some questions such as when did you first begin experiencing symptoms, did they change over time and what treatments have you used as well as things that may trigger or worsen your symptoms.

TESTS & DIAGNOSIS

Your health care provider can usually diagnose nickel allergy based on your skin's appearance and your recent history of contact with items likely to contain nickel. If the cause of your rash is not apparent, however, your health care provider may recommend a patch test (contact hypersensitivity allergy test). He or she may refer you to an allergy specialist (allergist) or skin specialists (dermatologist) for this test.

During a patch test, very small quantities of potential allergens (including nickel) are applied to small patches, which are then placed on your skin to check for a reaction. The patches remain on your skin for two days before being evaluated by your health care provider. If you have a nickel allergy, the skin under the nickel patch will be inflamed when the patch is removed or in the days after removal of the patch.

Because of the low concentrations of allergens used, patch tests are safe even for people with severe allergies.

If you suspect you may have symptoms of metal toxicity, have a hair analysis done by reliable lab to detect toxic levels of nickel and other minerals in your body.

MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Hair Analysis

Chelation Therapy Online: Heavy Metal Screen Kit Information





TREATMENT

There is no cure for nickel allergy. Once you develop a sensitivity to nickel, you will develop a rash (contact dermatitis) whenever you come into contact with the metal. Once an allergic reaction to nickel exposure has begun, it will most likely continue for two to four weeks.

MEDICATIONS FOR TREATING A ALLERGIC RESPONSE

Your health care provider may prescribe one of the following medications to reduce irritation and improve the condition of a rash from a nickel allergy reaction:
  • Corticosteroid cream, such as clobetasol propionate (Temovate, Cormax, others) and betamethasone dipropionate (Diprolene).


  • Oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, if the reaction is severe or a rash covers a large area.


  • Oral antihistamine, such as fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), for relief of itching.

Chelation therapy may be initiated for nickel toxicity. This is a long process and will depend on the levels of nickel in your body that needs to be eliminated.

You may use some of the following treatments at home to treat contact dermatitis due to nickel allergy. If these treatments do not help or the rash worsens, contact your health care provider. Home remedies include the following:
  • Soothing lotions, such as calamine lotion, may alleviate itching.


  • Wet compresses can be placed over the rash to help dry blisters and relieve itching. A wet compress can be made by soaking a clean cloth in Burrow's solution, an over-the-counter medication containing aluminum acetate, or in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 16 parts water.


  • Over-the-counter corticosteroids may alleviate itching and improve the condition of the rash. Talk to your health care provider about how long you can safely use the product.


  • Over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), may be beneficial to help relieve itching.

You should avoid certain over-the-counter ointments, such as antibiotic creams, which may contain ingredients that can worsen an allergic reaction. To be on the safe side, don't use creams with names ending in "-caine" to treat contact dermatitis.

TREATING NICKEL TOXICITY

Nickel is a stable element and cannot be broken down or otherwise destroyed. Elemental nickel is only moderately toxic but nickel carbonyl is highly poisonous and the most likely source of nickel poisoning. Common sources of nickel carbonyl are nickel mining, refining and plating and workers in these industries have a high risk of exposure. The following steps will help you identify and treat a case of nickel poisoning.

  • Know the symptoms of the immediate toxic effects of nickel poisoning by inhalation of nickel carbonyl. These include a frontal headache, insomnia, irritability, nausea, vertigo and vomiting.


  • Leave the exposure site immediately and remove contaminated clothing.


  • Observe the delayed pulmonary symptoms that appear about 16 hours after the onset of the initial symptoms and become most severe after about four days. They resemble those of pneumonia and include chest pains, dry coughing, rapid heart rate, sweating and weakness. This stage can frequently be fatal.


  • Administer oxygen and measure the level of nickel in the urine for the first eight hours to determine the severity of acute nickel carbonyl poisoning. Less than 100 ug/L is mild, 100 to 500 ug/L is moderate and above 500 ug/L is severe.


  • Begin chelation therapy with sodium diethyldithiocarbamate and support measures including antibiotics, oxygen, corticosteroids, antibiotics and rest. Nickel carbonyl poisoning is frequently accompanied by carbon monoxide poisoning, which must be treated separately.


  • Continue the convalescence, which can be protracted, and is often complicated by exertion. Permanent respiratory damage from acute nickel carbonyl poisoning is unusual.





  • CONSIDERATIONS

  • Chelation can remove toxic metals from the body. Intensive chelation therapy should be supervised by a health care provider with experience in removing toxic metals from the body. L-Cysteine is effective for Nickel Chelation. DMPS (2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid) is a good oral chelator of nickel. DMPS can also be administered intravenously.


  • Chelation therapy is most often given into a vein (intravenously), either as a short injection or over a period of 2 to 4 hours. A typical treatment cycle may include 20 injections or infusions spread over 10 to 12 weeks. Chelation therapy can also be given orally. Typically, chelation therapy is done in several cycles in order to get the most benefit. If you are interested in chelation therapy, consider consultation with a health care provider experienced with chelation therapy, such as a Naturopathic practitioner.

    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Chelation Therapy

  • Aside from being potentially toxic, nickel is often allergenic. The nickel in watchbands, zippers, bra closures, pierced earrings, and other everyday items has been associated with many allergic reactions. A high incidence of allergic reactions in pierced earrings has been reported among children. Many earrings and posts contain nickel. Gold (14 karat or higher) is probably the safest metal for pierced earrings. Some individuals with a nickel sensitivity can wear quality silver jewelry without problems.


  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Chemical Allergy





    HERBAL & HOLISTIC RECOMMENDATIONS


    RECOMMENDATIONS

    While changes in diet are no substitute for medical treatment, they can complement the detoxification process. The following nutritional changes are recommended:

  • Food is the main route of uptake followed by cigarette smoke. The dietary intake of nickel is highly variable; the most reported averages are 200-300 micrograms (mcg) per person per day. Consumption of nickel-rich food items may increase the nickel intake from 150 to 900 mcg daily or more. Certain food items have very high nickel contents: high levels have been found in legumes, spinach, lettuce, soy beans, oatmeal, and nuts. Certain products, such as baking-powder and cocoa powder, contain excessive amounts of nickel, perhaps because of leaching of nickel during the manufacturing process. Soft drinking-water and acid beverages may dissolve nickel from pipes and containers. Leaching and corrosion processes may contribute significantly to the oral nickel intake.


  • Make sure that your diet is high in fiber and that you supplement it with apple pectin (found in apples). Increase your consumption of soluble fibers such as apples. Links for apple pectin are found in Supplements below.


  • Avoid processed food products, as well as any products containing hydrogenated fats and oils.


  • Beware of metal cookware, especially when preparing acidic foods, such as tomato sauce. Use glass cookware instead. Also avoid using metal cooking utensils. Use utensils made from plastic or wood instead (wood is best).


  • Take a quality high-potency multi-vitamin & mineral supplement (1 tablet a day or as directed on the label). See supplements below for more information.


  • Taking additional supplements of vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, L-lysine, L-cysteine, and L-cysteine supplements. These vitamins, minerals, and amino acids help reduce the amount of lead that the body absorbs. See Supplements below for more information.


  • Do not smoke and avoid those who do.


  • Ask your dentist about the metal content of the materials he or she uses. Nickel toxicity can result from nickel alloys used in dental surgery and appliances.


  • Using a filter to prevent contamination in the water. Drinking lots of water (at least eight glasses per day) to help the body excrete the toxin. Drink steam-distilled or quality water only for drinking and cooking.


  • If your job or hobby involves using nickel to plate metals, use a face mask while working. Inhalation of nickel can cause pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs).


  • Committing to a three-day fasting at the end of every season. Fasting is the oldest method of detoxification. During fasting, patients should take supplements and drink four glasses of juice a day to assist the cleansing process and to prevent exhaustion.


  • MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Fasting





    NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

    Unless otherwise specified, the following recommended doses are for adults over the age of 18. For a child between 12 and 17 years, reduce the dose to 3/4 the recommended dose. For a child between 6 and 12 years old, use 1/2 the recommended dose, and for a child under 6, use 1/4 the recommended dose.

    NUTRIENTS
    Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments
    Important
    Apple Pectin As directed on label. Binds toxins and metals, removing them from the body.
    Garlic (Kyolic) 2 tablets 3 times daily, with meals or as directed on label. Acts as a detoxifier and aids in removing harmful metals.
    Garlic Oil Tincture, Alcohol Free, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.,
    Garlic Bulb Cloves, Garlic Supplement, Nature's Way, 580 mg, 100 Caps,
    Odorless Garlic Supplement, NOW Foods, 50 mg, 250 SoftGels,
    Garlic Supplement, Kwai, Triple Concentrated, 180 Tabs,
    Every Day Garlic Supplement, Kwai, 30 Tabs,
    Garlic Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.,
    Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular Formula 100, Wakunaga Kyolic Supplements, 300 Caps,
    Kyolic Liquid Aged Garlic Extract, Cardiovascular, Vegetarian, Wakunaga Kyolic, 4 fl. oz.,
    Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, One-A-Day, Vegetarian, 1000 mg, Wakunaga Kyolic, 30 Caps,
    Aged Garlic Extract, Cholesterol Formula 104, Wakunaga Kyolic, 200 Caps
    Kelp 1,000-1,500 mg daily. Supplies minerals and iodine to aid in removing toxic metals.
    Kelp Supplement, Nature's Way, Certified, 650 mg, 100 Caps,
    Kelp Seaweed, Norwegian, NOW Foods, 100% Natural, 550 mg, 250 Caps,
    Kelp Seaweed, Norwegian Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
    L-Cysteine 500 mg daily, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B-6 & 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption. See Amino Acids for more information. Helps to detoxify the body, including the liver, of harmful metals.

    sulfur-containing amino acids that act as detoxifiers and remove heavy metals.
    L-Cysteine, Structural Support With Vitamin B-6 & C, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Tabs
    L-Methionine As directed on label, on an empty stomach. Take with water or juice. Do not take with milk. Take with 50 mg vitamin B-6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption. Helps to detoxify the body including the liver, of harmful metals. See Amino Acids for more information.
    L-Methionine, 500 Mg, With B-6, 10 mg, 100 Caps
    Selenium 200 mcg daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 40 mcg daily. A potent antioxidant and a powerful free radical destroyer. Caution: Do not take supplemental selenium if you are pregnant or have heart, kidney, or liver disease.
    Selenium Supplement, Yeast Free, NOW Foods, 200 mcg, 180 Caps,
    Selenium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 50 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.,
    Ionic Selenium, Trace Minerals, 300 mcg, 2 fl. oz.,
    Selenium, 100% Natural, Nature's way, 200 mcg, 100 Caps
    Vitamin A 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. A powerful antioxidant that destroys free radicals.
    Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 100 Softgels
    Plus
    Natural Beta-Carotene
    In With
    Carotenoid Complex
    15,000 IU or as directed on label. A Free radical scavenger.
    Beta Carotene (Natural Dunaliella Salina), Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 25,000 IU, 100 Softgels,
    Multi-Carotene Antioxidant, Nature's Way, 60 Softgels
    Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 4,000-10,000 mg daily, in divided doses. Helps to remove metals from the body and strengthens immunity. See Ascorbic Acid Flush for more information.
    Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
    Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
    Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
    The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
    Vitamin E 200 IU daily or 400 IU every other day. A powerful free radical scavenger that also improves circulation. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.
    Ester E Natural Vitamin E, California Natural, 400 IU, 60 Softgels,
    Vitamin E, 400 IU, 100% Natural, NOW Foods, 100 Gels,
    Vitamin E-1000, NOW Foods, 1000 IU, 100 Gels,
    Vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, 400 IU, 100 Softgels
    Or
    Micellized Vitamin A Emulsion
    (American Biologics)
    As directed on label. Supplies vitamins A and E in easily assimilable emulsion form that enters the system rapidly to destroy free radicals, boost the immune system, and help the body to use oxygen efficiently.





    NICKEL ALLERGY & TOXICITY SUPPLEMENTS & PRODUCTS

    Information, products and supplements for nickel sensitivity, allergy and toxicity, a silver-white metal found in the earth's crust that is used to produce steel, nickel-cadmium batteries, heating fuel, nickel plating and ceramics.

    Complete Body Cleanse Kit, Life-Flo

    The Complete Body Cleanse Kit not only supports the body's own detoxification mechanisms, but at the same time enhances them. This triple action system works on the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and the circulatory system, a place where a lot of heavy metals reside.
    Complete Cleansing & Anti-Toxin System, Two-Part System

    Cleanse your body and start feeling more healthy with this Body Cleansing System.
    Detox Foot Pads, 10 Detox Foot Patches Per Box

    The BodyPure brand detox foot pads are the most effective, 100% natural detox foot patches available. This detox pad has been the number one selling detox foot patch in Japan 12 times in a row! The Japanese and now many Americans have are using these detox foot patches to cleanse the body of unwanted toxins. These foot patches literally suck the toxins out of the body to help the body function better. Removing body toxins helps support liver function, and helps combat fatigue, attention deficit, allergies, and poor circulation, while increasing metabolism and enhancing sleep. Any time you can remove unwanted toxins from your body you support your body's wellbeing. These detox foot patches are designed to maximize the removal of toxins in the body. They are easy to use, and work quickly.

    Suggested Use: One self sticking detox foot patch is applied to each foot nightly for five days, and then repeated for 5 day periods for up to thirty days. For continued maintenance cleansing a foot patches may be applied one to two times per week. Patches may be applied on the heal, center or front of the foot. Best when used at night when sleeping. Complete application instructions and use are included in each box.

    1) The visual evidence of removed toxins is apparent after each application of the detox foot patch. The physical progress is apparent when used over a few consecutive days.
    2) Samples used detox pads were sent to SRC Analytical Lab, a highly accredited Environmental Laboratory. Their test results showed that the detox foot pads absorbed Nickel, Arsenic and Mercury into the pads.
    3) Multiple detox pads removed from various individuals were analyzed by using a syncrometer. The syncrometer is an electronic device used to detect numerous toxic substances. The following toxins have been identified in the used detox pads: benzene, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, aluminum, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, thallium, arsenic, asbestos, DAB dye, fast green dye, sudan black dye and PCB (plastic byproduct).
    4) Extensive research in Japan has been conducted with the use of Thermography (infrared technology). The detox foot pads have been tested for their ability to stimulate circulation by means of these thermographic sensors.
    5) Further research was conducted on the healing and relaxation properties of the BodyPure pads through measurement of alpha brain waves.
    Detox Support, NOW Foods, 90 Caps

    NOW Detox Support is a comprehensive fusion of vitamins, minerals and herbs scientifically formulated to rid the body of energy depleting chemicals, pollutants and toxins. With an impressive complex of herbs, including Milk Thistle, NOW Detox Support is like an invigorating shower for your vital systems!
    Garlicin HC, Healthy Circulation Formula With Odor Free Garlic, Nature's Way, 90 Enteric Coated Tabs

    Garlicin HC garlic supplement supports cardiovascular health with the help of hawthorn, cayenne and vitamin E.
    Garlic Oil Tincture, Alcohol Free, Nature's Way, 1 fl. oz.

    Garlic oil is often used to soothe the ear and as an antibiotic but most often used as a food and herb and also to lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure and to improve circulation as well as possibly inhibiting the growth of ulcer causing bacteria.
    Kelp Seaweed (Norwegian Laminaria Digitata) Powder, 4 oz. Bulk

    Kelp contains nearly thirty minerals which nourish the glands, especially the thyroid and pituitary. It helps balance the body's metabolism and rate at which it burns calories.
    Kelp Seaweed, Norwegian, NOW Foods, 100% Natural, 550 mg, 250 Caps

    Norwegian Kelp seaweed contains nearly thirty minerals which nourish the glands, especially the thyroid and pituitary. Kelp, also known as seaweed, grows in the rich ocean beds, far below surface pollution levels.
    Kelp Seaweed Tincture, Norwegian, 2 fl. oz.

    Due to overwhelming research results, Kelp has become an effective treatment for hyperthyroidism.
    L-Cysteine Structural Support, With Vitamin B-6 & C, Vegetarian, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Tabs

    NOW L Cysteine functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution. Hair and skin are made up 10-14% Cystine.
    L-Methionine, 500 mg, Plus B-6, 10 mg, 100 Caps

    L-Methionine is an essential sulfur amino acid. The body cannot produce L-Methionine, which must be obtained from food or supplement sources.
    Metal-X Metal Detox, Life-Flo, 30 VCaps

    Metal-X is a natural chelation product. It gently removes toxic heavy metals from the body while providing superior mineral supplementation.
    Pronatura Dentox, Homeopathic Amalgam / Mercury Detoxification, 200 Tabs

    Pronatura Dentox, Homeopathic Amalgam / Mercury Detoxification tablets are a homeopathic detoxifier that aid the body in eliminating mercury from amalgam, heavy metals deposits, other toxins, as well as alleviating their associated symptoms.
    Selenium, 100% Natural, 200 mcg, 100 Caps

    Selenium is an essential component of glutathione, the body's most potent natural antioxidant system. It is a popular choice in many antioxidant regimens.
    Selenium Ionic Mineral Supplement, Fully Absorbable, 50 +/- ppm, 16 fl. oz.

    WaterOz Ionic Selenium is pure liquid Selenium supplement. Selenium promotes normal body growth, enhances fertility, encourages tissue elasticity and is a potent antioxidant that naturally reduces the retention of toxic metals in the body. Selenium is crucial for the proper functioning of the heart muscle and there is evidence that it can help the body fight cancer.
    Thisilyn Cleanse With Mineral Digestive Sweep, Clinical Strength, Internal Purification, 100% Natural, 15 Program

    Standardized milk thistle extract is the most clinically researched supplement for supporting the liver.
    Thisilyn Cleanse With Herbal Digestive Sweep, Clinical Strength, Internal Purification, 15 Day Program, Nature's Way, 100% Natural

    Standardized milk thistle extract is the most clinically researched supplement for supporting the liver.
    Vitamin A, 100% Natural, Nature's Way, 10,000 IU, 100 Caps

    Nature's Way vitamin A is 100% natural from fish liver oil. It contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
    Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps

    Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
    Vitamin E, Natural D-Alpha-Tocopherol, Nature's Way, 400 IU, 100 Softgels

    Vitamin E has potent antioxidant activity, supplies oxygen to the blood, aids in strengthening capillary walls, and plays a beneficial role in cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention, anti-aging benefits, circulation, wound-healing, immune function, nervous system function, PMS, hot flushes, diabetes, vascular disease, eye health, tissue repair, athletic performance, leg cramps, skin and hair health, and alleviating fatigue.


  • Herbal Remedies: Nickel Toxicity Information


  • Herbal Remedies: Nickel Toxicity supplements & Products


  • Herbal Remedies: Environmental Toxicity Information


  • Herbal Remedies: Environmental Toxicity supplements & Products




  • NOTIFY YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF...

  • You have a skin rash and do not know how you got it. Seek emergency care if the rash develops blisters or drains fluids.


  • You have already been diagnosed with nickel allergy and are sure you are reacting to nickel exposure, you may use over-the-counter treatments and home remedies recommended by your health care provider in the past. Call your health care provider if you see no improvement in symptoms within two weeks.


  • You or a family member have nickel toxicity or suspect a nickel toxicity and may need professional consultation and need testing for verification.


  • You or a family member have any increase of symptoms or other signs of nickel toxicity.


  • You have any unexpected or unusual symptoms. Some people may have sensitivity, allergies, or other health conditions which would prevent them from using certain therapy treatments.





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